Last Day Delights

Storyteller Motoko

For most of this last day of 2008 I have been reading a fascinating book from my public library called Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness, by Joshua Wolf Shenk (Houghton Mifflin Company 2005.)

It is not a self-help book, but it reminds me a little of Thomas Moore’s Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life, which I read when it was a bestseller several years ago. 

Both books say, in a nutshell, “Not everything about depression is bad.  Not everything about happiness is good.”

I acknowledge and appreciate complexity, too.  I am glad to be reminded of its importance.

Still, in this last blog post of 2008, I just want to mention a few things that have delighted me in the past 48 hours or so:

  • 1. My friend and sister storyteller, Mary Hamilton, sent me a copy of “The Lincoln Issue” of the Kentucky Humanities magazine. As she says, “Lincoln may have grown up in Indiana and he may have become president while living in Illinois, but he was BORN in Kentucky.” Whenever I try to imagine Abraham’s speaking voice, I think of this Mary’s simultaneously gentle and vibrant accent.
  • 2. My friend and biological sister, Bethany Baugh, sent me something she had just discovered in storage at our father’s home: her grade six report on Abraham Lincoln. Oh, my, it was a treat to read that sweet, earnest piece of writing!
  • 3. IRT playwright-in-residence James Still shared with me and others this link to some of his thoughts about the creative and emotional journey that he has been on for the past three years, writing a new play about Abraham Lincoln. His piece is called “The Heavens are Hung in Black.” It will have its world premiere in February at the theatre in Washington, DC where Lincoln was shot. I cried in empathy for James’ feelings of unworthiness to be writing about this man, and I took inspiration and comfort from his successes. And I, too, have been finding pennies everywhere since I started my own Lincoln project!
  • 4. A few days ago I mentioned that I had met with Bob Burchfield, editor of, to record a short blurb to help him celebrate his 1000th podcast. Today he emailed me a list of all of the Indianapolis area bloggers who helped with this and when “our” podcasts will air on

Jan. 1 – Douglas Karr, Marketing Technology Blog and Compendium Blogware

Jan. 2 – Lorraine Ball, Roundpeg Business Services

Jan. 3 – Tom Britt, and (the Geist Community Network)

Jan. 4 – Hope Baugh,

Jan. 5 – Jason Bean,

Jan. 6 – Jennette Fulda,

Jan. 7 – Paula Henry,

Jan. 8 – James Paden, (currently in development) and

Jan. 9 – Nicki Laycoax,

Jan. 10 – Kyle Lacy, and

I am honored to be on Bob’s list of favorite bloggers.  Some of these bloggers I already know and admire; I am looking forward to getting to know the rest!

  • 5. Megan McKinney, executive director of the Fine Arts Society, emailed me to say that my Lincoln storytelling on January 18th will be her “pick of the week” during her January 12th Indy Arts broadcast. I wasn’t just delighted to get this email, I was flabbergasted. You can bet I will be tuned in to 88.7 FM at 6:30 that evening. According to the schedule on the FSA website, the featured guest will be someone not yet named from the Indiana Historical Society. And hey! Just before that – on January 5 and 8 – Steven Stolen will be the guest! He is the manager of the Indiana Repertory Theatre. I like to hear him talk. I would love to hear him sing. Maybe he will let loose with a melodic line or two on the show?
  • 6. Ellen Munds, executive director of Storytelling Arts of Indiana, sent me all of the press releases for the upcoming storytelling events, including one for “Tales of Now and Zen” by Motoko, which is coming up on January 10, 2009 at 8 pm at the Indiana History Center. (That’s Motoko’s photo, above.) But Ellen also sent one about my Lincoln program! It is odd to read a press release about one’s self. But it is fun, too, I have to admit. Here is what it says:

To commemorate the 200th anniversary of our 16th president’s birth, Hope Baugh will premiere her original piece Of the People: Stories and Images of Abraham Lincoln on Sunday, January 18th, 2009, from 4-6 p.m. as part of the Sharing Hoosier History Through Stories Series presented by Storytelling Arts of Indiana and the Indiana Historical Society.

Although Baugh was commissioned to create the piece in early summer of 2008, she did not formally decide on its title until September. Ultimately, she drew inspiration from Lincoln’s unique position as the first president to be widely portrayed via photographs and other visual images. This, she imagines, gave the American people a sense of “ownership” of their President that had not existed before. His humble childhood in a one-room cabin and lack of formal education made him seem truly “of the people”– an image that lingers even today.

Hope Baugh currently works full-time as a department manager for a public library, and part-time as a freelance storyteller and teacher. This year, she will be teaching a graduate workshop in storytelling for Master of Library Science students at IUPUI, and will serve as an Encore Association judge for community theater in the 2008-2009 season. She also maintains a blog called “Indy Theater Habit,” where she reviews several local theater performances per week. While not teaching, blogging, judging or performing, Hope enjoys spending time in her garden.

This event will take place at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center Basile Theater, located at 450 W. Ohio Street. The Basile Theater is wheelchair accessible and has a state-of-the-art sound system. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door. To order tickets or for more information, call the History Center at (317) 232-1882 or (800) 447-1830. To order tickets on-line visit,

Free parking is available at the History Center in its parking lot at the corner of West and New York streets.

I was also delighted by the patient, competent help I received from Tavita and Ross at  I am going to have to hire a WordPress guru in 2009 to teach me everything I want to learn about improving my blog, but they were able to get me started.  AND while I had them on the phone, I went ahead and registered the alternate spelling of my blog’s name.  So…now it doesn’t matter how people spell the middle word in Indy Theatre Habit, they will still get here. 

I was even more delighted that my video guru, Zach Rosing, had alerted me to the fact that the Bluehost guys would not be able to just update me with Fantastico…I know: I didn’t know what he was talking about either, but the Bluehost guys did, and it probably saved my blog from having big problems.  God bless Zach!

Last but not least, my blog had more than 5100 unique visitors this month.  I didn’t expect to reach this goal until 2009.  Whee!

My blog doesn’t actually turn one year old until the end of January, so I will do some kind of year-end review then.

In the meantime, THANK YOU, everyone – for reading, for commenting, and for sending me info and photos and other support and encouragement. 

Best wishes for a safe, healthy, satisfyingly complex and theatre-filled 2009, with love and affection from:

Hope Baugh –

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